Take a moment to observe a young child and see how they live in the moment, how they have little concern for allowing others personal space, how they joyously skip from one point to another and how their great curiosity drives how they go about their day. As we grow toward adulthood it is expected that we leave those childish ways behind, and for most of us, one day these delightful childhood characteristics dwindle away and are replaced with worry, distancing ourselves from others, simply walking from place to place (even if we feel like skipping) and concern about asking a dumb question or looking silly. As such, there are many “adulting” days that don’t seem that magical or amazing because we forget to “stop and smell the roses” or take a chance. Perhaps we should take a lesson from our children?
One of the great things about being around children is they invite us adults to enter their world, and those moments often bring us a smile or giggle that pulls us into the moment with them. For example, take the simple game of “Peek-a-boo”. Who hasn’t played this game with a child and not felt the joy they experience when one’s eyes are covered and they are surprised with the “boo” that comes with uncovering the eyes? Isn’t it amazing that even when you don’t see something it can still be there? I can think of so many times when a child has reminded me through a simple action or innocent question that life is precious, and that is extraordinary in the ordinary.
How about waving at a stranger and having them smile and wave back? In the United States little children enjoy that delightful cause and effect of letting someone know you see them and getting a positive response. And, us adults in the United States enjoy it too. Perhaps we should try that more often….a wave, a smile, a hello? Note: In the United States a wave hello or good-bye is a positive gesture. I found the piece called “Kisses Handshakes and Fist Bumps, How to Say Hello in 40 Countries” by Hristina Byrnes very interesting. https://247wallst.com/special-report/2018/11/20/kisses-handshakes-and-fist-bumps-how-to-say-hello-in-40-countries/
One of the first words my kids got excited about saying was “ball“. What an extraordinary ordinary object that we forget is so amazing and fun! Balls are fun to hold, throw and bounce. Did you know that the word “ball” comes from the Latin word “ballare”(1) which means “to dance”? No wonder children are so delighted when they discover balls! Our society’s love of ball games shows that we don’t completely lose this love as we grow older, but that love of a “ball” transforms to competition and friendly rivalries: Soccer, basketball, baseball, rugby, tennis, bocce ball, bowling, Pétanque, football, volleyball, golf, netball, cricket, dodgeball, bandy, handball, billiards ……. the list goes on.
Did you know that stencils are amazing, magical things? I forgot about that until my young daughter came home from school one day and told me of her experience using stencils in Kindergarten class. You would have thought that she discovered a new continent or world, and I guess she had. The dictionary states that stencils are: “a device for applying a pattern, design, words, etc., to a surface, consisting of a thin sheet of cardboard, metal, or other material from which figures or letters have been cut out, a coloring substance, ink, etc., being rubbed, brushed, or pressed over the sheet, passing through the perforations and onto a surface.” As you know, stencils are not new, they originated thousands of years ago when pre-historic man held their hand up against a wall and blew pigment on it. (2) But, it took my 5 year old daughter to remind me that they are AMAZING!
How about your forehead? As you know, your forehead is the top part of your face, just above your eyebrows and below your hairline. One day my your daughter asked me “Mom, if this is my “four” head [forehead] where is my “fivehead”? That question made me giggle. Isn’t that a great question? At the time, I told her that we do not have a “fivehead”, but I have since learned that I was wrong. According to the Urban Dictionary some people do have a “fivehead”: “A forehead so incredibaly large it can be classified by the next number up.” (3)
My son, at the age of two could not contain his excitement when he saw a bulldozer or other heavy duty construction vehicle. He would point and yell “MOVE DIRT, MOVE DIRT!” Anyone close to him could not help but notice these amazing, magical vehicles who do so much for our world. Why are they called “Bulldozers”? According to “Bulldozers” written by Sam Sargent and Michael Alves: “Around 1880, the common usage of ‘bull-dose’ in the United States meant administering a large and efficient dose of any sort of medicine or punishment. If you ‘bull-dosed’ someone, you gave him a severe whipping or coerced or intimidated him in some other way, such as by holding a gun to his head. In 1886, with a slight variation in spelling, a ‘bulldozer’ had come to mean both a large-caliber pistol and the person who wielded it. By the late 1800s, ‘bulldozing’ came to mean using brawny force to push over, or through, any obstacle.” (4)
Finally, I want to share why I titled this piece “How Old Is Dirt? And Other Fascinating Things”. One day my daughter came home from elementary school and she had a burning question for me. She said, “Mom, how old is dirt?”. I asked her why she wanted to know and she said, “Because my teacher said he is as old as dirt and I want to know how old he is.” Of course, that made me smile and I had to explain that it is an idiom that means something is very old, but it does not say exactly how old something is. She did not think that made any sense at all and went away very unsatisfied with my answer. But, this question did encourage me to investiate the real age of dirt. According to Milan Pavich, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, dirt is over 3.9 billion years old, (5) which would likely be a bit older than my daughter’s teacher.
I hope you have been and continue to be reminded of the fascinating, extraordinary ordinary things in life. Those reminders often give us the “spark” needed to reignite the joy we all want to have in our hearts. I would love to hear your stories of being reminded of the fascinating, extraorinary ordinary things in life.
About Me: Life is precious, capture its beauty. I am lucky to have a loving family, and wonderful friends. Like everyone, I have good days and bad days, happy days and sad days, patient days and crabby days, beautiful days and ugly days, etc. I try to “hold the bright side up” as much as I can because it makes me feel better, and I think it helps others feel better too. I am so far from perfect, but I try to be kind and respectful. I truly believe that life is precious and that there are so many extraordinary ordinary people and moments in life. I want to share and celebrate the “extraordinary ordinary” through my writing and photography. Please check out my photos at WordPress http://lifeisprecious358866402.wordpress.com , Fine Art America Photography https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/35-laura-smith; at Adobe Stock at https://stock.adobe.com/contributor/207669601/Laura%20Jean%20Smith or at Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/LauraJSmith. Perhaps you will find something you would like to have as your own?